It has been a pretty crazy week around my house because we are right in the thick of the holiday season. How are y’all holding up? Make sure you have enough eggnog and brandy to get through this next week. If you don’t, I’ll leave some out on my porch for anyone to stop by and take a quick nip.
Let’s get right to the shooty hoops and see if Indiana will beat another team from its state ever again!
(All KenPom rankings are accurate as of Monday night.)
KenPom rank: 95th AdjEM, 55th AdjO, 181st AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. No. 21 Notre Dame 80–77, OT (Indianapolis); (L) vs. Fort Wayne 92–72
Biggest strength: Juwan Morgan had 34 points and 11 boards in the upset against Notre Dame and outplayed Bonzie Colson. Robert Johnson had 20 points and Zach McRoberts had seven offensive rebounds (nine total) and three assists. The Hoosiers hung in there with state power IPFW too.
Biggest weakness: So let me get this straight: Purdue, Butler, Indiana State, IPFW, and Ball State (who has beaten Notre Dame and Indiana State) are better than Indiana at basketball now? Look, as a Wisconsin fan, I know a thing or two about bad basketball this year, but I’m still gonna throw these rocks right through the glass walls of my house. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL INDIANA YOU SUCK SO BAD!!!!!!!!
IPFW hit 17 three-pointers and shot better from beyond the arc than they did from inside the arc. They also had 13 steals and have two guys in their starting lineup with an “X” in their name (Jax Levitch and Xzavier Taylor). The Mastodons are back, baby!
“I think handling success is always a lot harder than getting kicked in the face,” Archie Miller said. You may be singing a different tune come February after getting kicked in the face repeatedly, Arch.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Tennessee Tech
KenPom rank: 96th AdjEM, 150th AdjO, 65th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Longwood 92–45; (L) vs. New Mexico State 74–69
Biggest strength: Aaron Jordan dropped 22 and eight on Longwood’s melon and Leron Black scored 17 and corralled eight boards against New Mexico State. I have enjoyed living in the suburbs for the last year but one thing I miss about living in the city, in an apartment building, is that no one I didn’t know would knock on my door. Some tree removal service rang my doorbell AND knocked on my door while my daughter was napping and I wanted to strangle him with his neon yellow safety vest. I DON’T WANT A FREE ESTIMATE ON TREE REMOVAL, YOU JACKASS! I WANT MY DAUGHTER TO NAP WITHOUT INTERRUPTION!
Biggest weakness: “We shot ourselves in the foot again,” head coach Brad Underwood said. With infants in Wisconsin able to obtain hunting licenses now, maybe Underwood should head north to find some new recruits that know how to shoot a gun properly.
This week’s schedule: Saturday vs. Missouri (St. Louis or Chicago or somewhere ... who cares?)
KenPom rank: 73rd AdjEM, 72nd AdjO, 107th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Drake 90–64
Biggest strength: My main man, Nicholas Baer, had 11 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, five steals, and a block against Drake.
Tyler Cook had 23 points and a giant freshman named Luke Garza had 13 and seven. Jordan Bohannon dropped seven dimes and had 15 points too. Iowa had lost six of seven before beating Southern and Drake and will look to keep the momentum going before entering conference play.
Biggest weakness: Besides Bohannon, the team did not shoot well from distance but it didn’t really matter because they are much taller than Drake. Both the rapper and the college basketball team.
This week’s schedule: Tuesday vs. Southern Utah (W 92–64); Friday vs. Colorado (Sioux Falls, SD)
KenPom rank: 36th AdjEM, 38th AdjO, 40th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Catholic 76–59
Biggest strength: Beat an entire religion at basketball. Maybe Maryland should change its nickname to the Lions? /rimshot
Anthony Cowan had 18 points and seven assists and Kevin Huerter added 14 points and five assists. Maryland, as a team, is shooting 50 percent from the field for the season. That’s impressive. They’re also grabbing nearly 40 percent (38.8%) of their own misses, which is good for fifth in the nation. Once the Terps get healthy, they could be pretty scary in conference.
Biggest weakness: Justin Jackson, Bruno Fernando (who I’m pretty sure also plays left back for the Portuguese national team), and Dion Wiley all missed the game with various ailments.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Fairleigh Dickinson
KenPom rank: 35th AdjEM, 48th AdjO, 28th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) at Texas 59–52; (W) vs. Detroit 90–58 (Detroit, but not their home arena)
Biggest strength: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 17 and snagged 10 boards in Michigan’s upset at Texas. Charles Matthews had 20 points and seven rebounds against Detroit and Zavier Simpson added 12 points and seven assists off the bench.
Biggest weakness: Mo Wagner, leading scorer, rebounder, and national security threat, left the Texas game with an ankle injury and did not play against Detroit. Is this all part of a sinister plot to finally kill Bruce Willis? It is close to Christmas ...
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Alabama A&M
KenPom rank: 2nd AdjEM, 13th AdjO, 2nd AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Oakland 86–73 (Detroit); (W) vs. Houston Baptist 107–62
Biggest strength: Continued to bully teams and are not predicted to lose a game the rest of the season according to KenPom. Nick Ward had 15 and 15 against Oakland and 20/6/4 (blocks) against Houston Baptist. Miles Bridges scored 33 against Houston Baptist and Cassius Winston had 10 points and 12 assists.
Biggest weakness: I remember when MSU signed Lourawls Nairn and thinking he was going to be a thorn in the B1G’s side for the rest of his career. This past week, he averaged one point per game and 1.5 turnovers. I, uh, may have been wrong about that one.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Long Beach State
KenPom rank: 41st AdjEM, 32nd AdjO, 64th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Drake 68–67
Biggest strength: Jordan Murphy is a danged monster. Dude had 24 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, and four blocks against Drake, basically winning the game for the Gophers. Murphy is currently ninth in the country in offensive rebounds percentage and I’m terrified of what he is going to do the Badgers this year.
Biggest weakness: Drake is, uh, not that great and only beating them by one, at home no less, isn’t something to be super excited about. Is Minnesota good this year? Their best win is against an Alabama team that literally was on the penalty kill for a decent portion of the second half and they’ve only won one true road game. I think the Gophers are talented this year, more so than they’ve been in many years, but I’m hoping that it all crashes and burns and they lose to Florida Atlantic or Indiana. You know, someone embarrassing.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Oral Roberts; Saturday vs. Florida Atlantic
KenPom rank: 84th AdjEM, 121st AdjO, 75th AdjD
Last week’s results: (L) vs. No. 9 Kansas 73–72
Biggest strength: A balanced attack lead by James Palmer’s 14 points guided the Huskers to a huge almost upset of Kansas. Does the selection committee take those into account? In the end, Nebraska had no answer for 7’0 behemoth Udoka Azubuike (26 points and 10 rebounds) or Devonte’ Graham (18 points and eight assists).
Biggest weakness: I’m going to see Star Wars this weekend with my dad, sister, and wife. I’ve managed to avoid spoilers so far, but I did overhear that this one is fairly violent compared to past Star Wars films.
If this were a real poster, I’m sure there would have been a bunch of violence in the theaters across America.
This week’s schedule: Wednesday vs. UTSA; Friday vs. Delaware State
KenPom rank: 46th AdjEM, 49th AdjO, 48th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Chicago State 96–31; (W) vs. Valparaiso 84–50; (W) at DePaul 62–60
Biggest strength: I know we already talked about their game against Chicago State, but it is worth mentioning again that Northwestern held a team to eight points in a half of men’s Division I college basketball. Vic Law averaged 15 points per game last week (could have been more but he missed the second half of the DePaul game with a head injury) and Scottie Lindsey poured in 25 against DePaul, including seven three-pointers, and snatched eight boards.
Biggest weakness: Apparently Tuesday’s opponent, Lewis University, is a small, private, Roman Catholic university located in Romeoville, Ill. Romeoville is 35 miles away from Chicago, a place I lived for 5.5 years, and I have never in my life heard of it or known anyone that attended the school. Notable alumni include two current MLB players that I’ve never hear of, the Chief of Police for Philadelphia, Kay Cannon (screenwriter for all the Pitch Perfect movies, writer/producer for 30 Rock and New Girl), and CHAKA KHAN!?!?!? I hope Lewis University beats Northwestern. [Editor’s note: They didn’t.]
This week’s schedule: Tuesday vs. Lewis (???? W 85–48); Friday at No. 20 Oklahoma
KenPom rank: 48th AdjEM, 57th AdjO, 46th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Appalachian State 80–67
Biggest strength: Keita Bates-Diop had 18 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and four steals. Jae’Sean Tate led the team with 19 points and also leads the team in love from me.
Biggest weakness: Wait just a darn second! When did Andrew Dakich transfer to Ohio State!?!? Wasn’t he just playing for Michigan like a week ago? This is horrible news. I need fewer Dakichs in my life. Also, App. State has a guy named O’Showen on their team. That’s his first name ... O’Showen. They’ve also got a guy with the last name Seacat. O’Showen Seacat is someone I would watch do just about anything. He sounds like a guy who jumps off cliffs without a parachute.
This week’s schedule: Tuesday vs. The Citadel (W 94–65); Saturday vs. No. 7 UNC (New Orleans)
KenPom rank: 37th AdjEM, 75th AdjO, 12th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) at George Mason 72–54
Biggest strength: Lamar Stevens had 23 and 12 while Mike Watkins’ mustache had 14 and 12. In far more important news, the Nittany Lions have a freshman named Trent Buttrick! His name has both “butt” and “trick” in it!!!! He has scored two points in his career but I’m voting for him as a first team All-American every year he’s in college. Similar to the Carolina Panthers, Trent has Butt Trick Swag.
Damiere Byrd already has a name for his touchdown catch! pic.twitter.com/AG9usJuxZy— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 17, 2017
Biggest weakness: Tony Carr missed the game due to a violation of team rules. I don’t know what that means, so I’m going to speculate wildly! Carr was supposed to play against Binghamton, so it couldn’t have been too serious, but with a name like Tony he’s probably involved in organized crime of some sort. I bet he was laundering money. Yeah, that sounds right. TONY CARR WAS SUSPENDED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING! I’m pretty sure if you type it in all caps it shows up higher on Google searches.
This week’s schedule: Tuesday vs. Binghamton (W 80–65); Friday vs. Rider
KenPom rank: 5th AdjEM, 11th AdjO, 11th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Butler 82–67 (Indianapolis)
Biggest strength: Carsen Edwards had 18 points and four assists. Matt Haarms a.k.a. Nu Haas had three blocks in extended playing time. The Boilermakers had a 97 percent (or higher) win probability the entire second half. A real snooze-fest IMO.
Biggest weakness: Here is a fun fact: Purdue hadn’t beaten Butler since 1998! Isaac Haas was in foul trouble and turned the ball over four times. This game was kind of boring, so let’s talk about me working out for the first time since Purdue last beat Butler. My wife purchased a Peloton bike a month ago and Monday was the first time I used it.
You can either do live classes with real instructors in New York City (oooooooo, fancy!) or take classes On Demand. I took some quiz on their website that suggested which instructors fit with my desired goals and I picked one of her beginner classes. Our bike is in the basement and I could barely walk up the steps to shower afterwards AND IT WAS ONLY A 20-MINUTE CLASS! I haven’t had a cigarette in nearly seven years but if being healthy means not being able to walk ... smoke me up, fam.
This week’s schedule: Thursday vs. Tennessee State
KenPom rank: 90th AdjEM, 219th AdjO, 27th AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Fordham 75–63; (W) vs. No. 18 Seton Hall 71–65
Biggest strength: Had six players score in double figures against Fordham, but nobody cares about that. I made fun of Rutgers last week for only playing trash cans all season and so of course they played top-25 Seton Hall and took them out back behind the woodshed and beat them with a tire iron (this is a reference my New Jersey readers will understand). Corey Sanders had 22 points and Deshawn Freeman had 12 points and 16 boards. The Scarlet Knights did not allow the Pirates to score a field goal in the final six minutes of the game.
Biggest weakness: They let Angel Delgado snag 21 rebounds against them, but he kind of does that to everyone. Can we talk about Ismael Sanogo, though? The senior forward for Seton Hall seemed to take this loss particularly hard based on his post-game comments:
“When you have the enemy down, you have your foot on their neck and just keep your foot on their neck and crush their throats. Don’t let them breathe the air. That’s exactly what we did at the end. We let them breath and they came back and beat us. Credit to them.”
“We’re not out there to be friends. We’re not out there to be buddy-buddy. I don’t want to be friends with these guys. At the end of the day, I don’t like anybody on their team. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”
Sanogo sounds like the kind of guy who takes Monopoly too seriously.
I can not believe that Rutgers basketball has elicited this sort of response from an opposing player. Also, uh, you have a 7’0, 275-pound player named Shaquille Doorson ... he needs to play more than 12 minutes all week.
This week’s schedule: Friday vs. Stony Brook
KenPom rank: 62nd AdjEM, 83rd AdjO, 53rd AdjD
Last week’s results: (W) vs. Western Kentucky 81–80
Biggest strength: Hey man, a win is a win. Even if you win by taking a charge on an inbounds play like some sort of small-town high school team that can’t really compete with the good team from the nearby city. Brevin Pritzl hit four threes (as did Aleem Ford, who is fast becoming my favorite player on the team) and scored 17 points overall, hopefully breaking out of his scoring slump. Ethan Happ also had 17 points and Scrappy Brad Davison added 16. That’s his full name now. Put some respect on it.
Biggest weakness: Only beat WKU, an average-at-best team, by one. Burned the redshirt of freshman walk-on Walt McGrory because ... reasons? Alex Illikainen, Andy Van Vliet, and Charles Thomas played three combined minutes. If all of them transfer, maybe we can offer Jalen Johnson multiple scholarships. I’ve suggested this before and I’m a bit offended that Greg Gard hasn’t tried it yet.
This week’s schedule: Saturday vs. UWGB